August Opening Comments 2021\
Welcome Back and Happy New Year! September is always like New Years. It’s a chance for fresh starts; clean slates; redo’s; do-overs; new beginnings. However you think of September, please know that we are looking forward to working with all of you and trying to get things back to normal while following and adhering to the Provincial Health Authority; District Covid Task Force and Health + Safety Guidelines. This welcome back message will have a lot of DRAFT information as we are still working with the district and province regarding planning for school opening.
At the time of this writing, Covid cases in BC average 500-800 daily. School Admin have met with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) officers, District Covid Response Planning Team and reviewed Provincial and District Covid guidelines. We have taken the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and used those guidelines from the BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) to shape our District Communicable Diseases Plan and our Covid Safey Plan. Our plan is in DRAFT.
Things to Know
Item #1 MG Covid Guidelines for 2021-2022
We require all parents to read and understand this document prior to sending your child to school. School procedures have changed somewhat, may, or may not be familiar to you and your children, depending if you were an Option 4 learner last year. Therefore you may or may not be familiar with Maple Grove Covid guidelines. Nevertheless, we are a caring school community and we want to ensure the safety and security of all adults and students in the building. There are many new and continuing processes, routines and safety measures that will be part of the day. This is likely the new normal for society and schools.
Covid Guidelines – MG plan for the 2021/2022 school year
- Develop a plan for restart to school
- Familiarize themselves with health + Safety protocols to ensure staff and students remain safe
- Familiarize themselves with procedures if a child becomes sick at school
- Conduct a daily self-health check each morning
- Encourage regular hand washing
- Maximize physical distancing
- Minimize physical contact
- Ensure additional cleaning measures are in place
- Ensure they wear PPE in common areas or places where they cannot physically distance
- Conduct daily health checks of their children each morning before school.
- Agree NOT to send sick children to school (sniffles, fever, cold, sore throat, headaches, chills, sweats, vomiting, aching muscles, runny noses, etc.
- If your child is ill, with any common cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, your child must stay home and isolate for 10 days following the onset of symptoms or until symptoms resolve. If a student is assessed by their family physician or nurse practitioner and it is determined that they do not have COVID-19, they may return to school earlier than 10 days but only after symptoms resolve.
- Agree NOT to send siblings to school if another sibling is sick
- Agree NOT to send children to school if a family member (even parent) is sick
- Agree to self-isolate for 14 days if they have traveled outside of Canada.
- Agree NOT to enter the school without making an appointment through the office. Please understand that schools remain closed to the public. Parents must make appointments to enter the school and only for essential business. Please call 604-713-5356 to make an appointment.
If you are unsure of your child’s health condition or if they have COVID-19-like symptoms, contact 8-1-1 for guidance. 8-1-1 is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia.
1) Instruction will be in-person– (there are distance ed; VLN and homeschooling options and there is an adjustment that students who enrol in distance ed, may come back to Maple Grove in Sept 2022 providing there is space). This is NEW.
2) Schools remain closed to the public and parents
The Province and District are asking parents to refrain from entering the school unnecessarily. Parents can make appointments through the School Office (604-713-5356) for school business. Parents will be required to limit their access to school; wear a mask; sign in at the main office with contact information in case provincial health officials need to contact trace. Parents must make an appointment by calling the office to gain access to the school- and only for important business. Only authorized adults, staff and students will be permitted to enter the school building.
This is a safety measure from the Province and is designed with the intent to limit the number of adults in the building and reduce opportunities for exposure. If parents have a need to enter the school, we request that you contact the school ahead of time and provide advance notice. You will be required to wear a mask and sign into a logbook for Provincial health officials. This is for the safety and security of all staff and students.
Parents may call the school (604)-713-5356 to make appointments to conduct school business.
(a) Parents must have permission from the Admin to enter the school.
(b) Parents must complete a Daily Health Check (DHC) from the district App if they have an appointment
(c) Parents must wear a mask.
(d) Parents must sign the “Visitor Log-In” including providing their phone number for Provincial Health Authority (PHA) Contact Tracing.
3) No Cohorts anymore.
4) Lining Up- Before School (Entrance/ Exit)
Designated pick up and drop off locations have been selected outside the school; on the school grounds; so that students may distance and line up with classmates and be led into the school by an adult staff member. This has been decided by the Provincial Health Authority and District Health & Safety for a number of reasons. Specifically, to control traffic flow and directional travel; to control the safety and security of students so that we limit the amount of persons in the building at any given time; and to reduce high touch surface areas by members of the community at large. Teachers will walk students into school in the morning, and out to the meeting area at the end of the day. Parents are to refrain from entering the school unless they’ve made an appointment through the office (604-713-5356). Parents require Admin Office Staff approval prior to entering. All adults must wear a mask in the school.
(a) Students will continue to line up outside the school in the morning.
(b) Classes will line up outside the school each morning where they did last school year… EXCEPT primary Montessori. They will line up on the Westside of the school in the new westside shared maple courtyard (see map)
Div 1, 2, 3, 4. Willow Pod
Div 5, 6, 7, 8. Birch Pod
Div 9, 10, 11, 12. Cherry Blossom Pod
Div 13, 14, 22. Ponderosa Pine Pod
Div, 15, 16, 17, 18. Douglas Fir Pod
Div 19, 20, 21. Cedar Pod CHANGE, use Westside Courtyard
(c) Be advised that Cavell School starts 15 minutes before Maple Grove and ends 15 Minutes before Maple Grove. (Do not come to school early). Avoid the traffic. We encourage parents to park a block or two away from the school and spend some quality morning time walking and talking as they approach school. This is a really good time to prep your child for their school day and talk shop. Its also good bonding time; telling stories; encouraging your child; and sharing your childhood experiences.
4) Students must wear a mask- All K to 12 staff, students in grades 4 to 12, and visitors are required to wear masks in all indoor areas, including: At their desks; lining up outside; on school buses. Exceptions to the mask policy include:
(a) A person who cannot tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons
(b) A person unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person
(c) If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it
(d) If the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask. For example:
(e) Playing a wind instrument
(f) Engaging in high-intensity physical activity
(g) If a person is eating or drinking
(h) If a person is behind a barrier
(i) While providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability (for example, a hearing impairment), where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements are important
Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 Students in K-3 are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in schools and on school buses. It is recommended they wear a mask, but it is not required. Mask wearing remains a personal or family choice for these students.
5) Classes will eat lunch in their classroom– As per last year, classes will continue to eat lunch in their classroom. The exception will be the K’s. They will eat lunch in the multipurpose room.
6) Daily Cleaning- School surfaces will continue to be surface cleaned once daily. Our engineering staff are aware of these guidelines.
7) Ventilation- The VSB has upgraded all schools to include MERV 13 filters. They have also increased air circulation and extended the hours of air intake through the course of each day. VSB schools conform to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating adn Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) practises. These include:
- Regular inspection and maintenance of HVAC systems
- Increased supply of outside air to dilute indoor contaminants
- Upgraded filtration, including installing MERV-13 filters where possible
- Use of other air cleaning or treatment technologies
- Management of energy use and air distribution through building automation control systems
8) Daily Health Check (DHC) App. The VSB has just developed an, “app for that”. Use the APP
The K to 12 Health Check website and app is an easy way to decide if your child should attend school based on their symptoms. It includes current health guidelines and offers an age-appropriate user experience for K to 12 students. Download the app:
Parents must assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school. If your child is ill, they must remain home.
In addition, a student may not attend school if:
- they have travelled outside of BC in the last 14 days;
- they have had contact with a known COVID-19 case, or if another person in their home has symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease, even if your child remains asymptomatic (i.e. does not show signs of being ill); and/or
- a doctor or other medical professional has advised them to self-isolate.
To help maintain a healthy learning environment, staff, families and students are asked to practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette (i.e. coughing and sneezing into your sleeve). Please review this with your child on a regular basis. Students in grades 4-12 are mandated to wear a mask, while at school, unless they are physically unable to do so; eating recess snacks, or eating lunch. We strongly recommend students in grades K-3 wear a mask while at school. You would be checking children for coughing, sneezing, running nose, diarrhea, or fever. If a student becomes sick during the day, please alert the office and bring the student to the office. Please advise them to wash their hands before coming to the office and provide them with Kleenex to cover their coughs and sneezes. Their parent will be called for pick-up. They will await pick-up in Gymnasium Vestibule (the Isolation Room) – the first aid room will be kept for first aid purposes only and will be disinfected each time it is used.
Daily Health Check
9). Important Links
- Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K to 12 Settings (PDF, 680KB)
- BCCDC COVID-19 Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K to 12 School Settings (PDF, 1.3MB)
- B.C.’s K to 12 Education Recovery Plan (PDF, 948KB)
COVID-19 protocols if someone gets sick
Students and staff who become sick at school
If a student or staff member develops symptoms at school:
- They will be given a mask and separated from their classmates or colleagues.
- Separated children will be supervised and cared for
- The student’s parent or guardian will be contacted, and asked to have their child picked up as soon as possible
- Staff will be asked to go home as soon as possible
- Custodial staff will clean and disinfect the areas the person used
COVID-19 exposure at school
If a student or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, and were potentially infectious while they were at school:
- Public health will investigate to determine if there were any potential close contacts within the school
If it is determined that there are close contacts within the school, public health will:
- Notify the school administrators and request information to assist with contact tracing from VCH
- Provide guidance on what steps should be taken
Public health may then:
- Recommend 14-day self-isolation if necessary
- Recommend self-monitoring for symptoms if necessary
- Provide follow-up recommendations if necessary
Schools will ensure students who required to self-isolate are able to continue their educational program. Together, schools and public health officials will determine if any other actions are necessary.
Parents, caregivers and families will be notified by public health if your child was determined to be a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person.
In and outside the classroom
Music and physical education programs
Students can participate in music and physical education programs, with additional safety measures in place.
- Masks aren’t required when doing activities that cannot be performed while wearing a mask, like playing a wind instrument or participating in high-intensity physical activity
- Students must continue to wear masks while singing
- Shared equipment will be cleaned and disinfected and students are encouraged to wash their hands before and after use
- Students will be asked not to share equipment that touches the mouth, like an instrument mouth piece or mouthguard, unless cleaned and disinfected in between uses
Sports, clubs and extracurricular activities
Activities like sports team practices and games, sports academies and events can continue. They will follow local, regional and provincial public health recommendations and orders for community gatherings and events.
- Sport and extracurricular activities should be held outside whenever possible
- Students will be encouraged to wash their hands before and after using equipment and cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing
- Students will be asked not to share equipment that touches the mouth unless cleaned and disinfected in between uses
Bringing in/use of personal materials
We encourage students to bring their personal materials to minimize physical contact and use of shared materials. Please label your child’s water bottle, supplies and everything they bring to school. (NB: drinking fountains will not be in operation. Please send your child with a full water bottle. The school has student water bottle filling stations which are sanitized daily).
Students will eat their lunch and snacks in their classrooms. Lunches and snacks are to come to school in the morning with the students – there will be no drop-off lunches or snacks accepted. Please pack lunches that:
- Do not need reheating
- Are nut free
- Children can eat independently
- Use of materials, equipment and manipulatives in classrooms will be minimized.
School meal programs
Food services (meal programs, cafeterias and fundraisers) will operate normally in the 2021/2022 school year.
School districts with existing meal programs will continue to work with community partners to provide meal support to families in need, in line with current public health guidelines.
Playgrounds are a safe environment. There is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in playgrounds. The following measures should be taken when using playgrounds:
- Ensure students wash their hands before and after outdoor play
- Minimize direct contact between students
More information on playgrounds is available from the BCCDC.
Assemblies, concerts and gatherings
MG will take a cautious approach to assemblies. We may stream our assemblies for the first part of the term or split the school into Primary/ Intermediate to monitor numbers.
Added supports for students and staff
As a result of the pandemic, we know students, educators, staff and administrators are living with anxiety, stress and other mental health needs.
Government has provided a one-time $5 million investment to support mental health services for students and staff, in addition to existing funding. These funds will allow schools to expand existing programs and introduce new supports to address the mental health needs of students and staff.
In spring 2021, a mental health working group was established with representatives from the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC), primary care, government, Indigenous educators and rights holders, administrative and union groups and other stakeholders in education. The working group is outlining key principles and developing resources to ensure the mental health needs of students and staff are being met.
The ministry fully respects the jurisdiction of First Nations and their right to make their own decisions about First Nations schools. Visit the First Nations Schools Association website for the latest updates.
In the spirit of reconciliation and consistent with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, public and independent schools have been asked to engage with First Nations communities who have students enrolled in district schools as soon as possible to discuss return to school plans for September.
- School boards and independent school authorities must also work with Métis Nation British Columbia for plans for Métis students attending public or independent schools
- Boards must identify Indigenous students whose educational outcomes may have been negatively impacted during in-class suspension, with support planned and prioritized
International students arriving in or returning to B.C. are required to self-isolate for 14 days if they are not fully vaccinated (have received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine administered more than 14 days prior to arrival). The following vaccines are approved for entry to Canada:
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
Students are also required to submit a self-isolation plan and complete the federal ArriveCAN application prior to arrival.
- Current federal travel guidance and requirements for entering Canada
- Federal checklists and exemptions for international students
There is no substitute for in-class instruction. It provides students with face-to-face teacher-led learning, peer engagement, supports social and emotional development and decreases feelings of isolation. School also provides many students access to supports they can’t get at home and is integral to their overall health.
Both public and independent online learning schools offer online classes. Students in kindergarten to Grade 7 must take a full course load at one school, while students in Grades 8 to 12 may learn from home entirely, or learn at school and take some courses online.T. here are 48 school districts with 53 public schools offering online learning courses. Independent online learning schools also offer courses and programs. Check out the VSB website re: student who take VLN can come back and re-register at MG providing the is space in Sept 2022.
Homeschooling is typically led by a family member who delivers an educational program to a child at home.
Note: Homeschoolers are not eligible to receive a British Columbia Dogwood Graduation Certificate.